There’s something I’ve noticed in much of Asia. The distinction between inside and outside is just not what it is where I grew up. In the West, we have a phrase for people who leave the door open:
“Were you born in a barn?”
In China, Vietnam, and some of the older parts of Korea, the door is always open. Today it is cold enough to close the schools in Hanoi. It’s only 10C (a balmy Summer’s day in Iceland). Still, sitting in a cafe with the door wide open is pretty cold even for a Colorado Native.
I’ve tried to work out why I don’t have shared door culture with people living in this part if the world. Is it an adaptation to keep the mould from overtaking everything? Is it bad luck to close out any visitors? Or is it just one of those things that they do without knowing why they do it, and only seems weird if you’re an outsider?
It’s a triple whammy, really.
And the doors and windows are wide open.
All I know is that it feels like camping all winter long when you live in Asia. If I don’t have a coat on at all times, even when sleeping, it’s too cold. People in Hanoi keep saying how cold they are while the door is open and they are wearing sandals. Seems like there are relatively simple fixes to this. Then again there are still mosquitoes biting my knees, so it’s not that cold I suppose.
I tried to think of things like that from my own culture, but I’m too steeped in chickens at Cafes and no distinction between indoors and outdoors to remember.
Luckily in two weeks I’ll be back stateside and it will be all weird again.